Vine & Dine

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

wine glassWhen you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.

Yes, Pinot lovers everywhere, this beautiful garnet wine scored a whopping 98 points at the competition, and, considering the huge number of varietals entered this year, this is a coup indeed. So praise and congratulations to winery partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan. I’m glad they made 200 cases.

This crazy-good Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot ($50) has everything going for it. A blend of 14 clones from three Santa Cruz Mountains vineyards—estate, Lester Family Vineyards in Aptos and Coast Grade Vineyard in Bonny Doon—the end result is complex aromas of dark fruit, and big bold flavors of strawberry, cherry and cranberry, with some earthy mushroom and clove. Only the finest grapes are selected for this prize wine, and only handmade French oak barrels are chosen for ageing.

So if you think you can handle this deliciously seductive Pinot Noir, I suggest you head to Soquel Vineyards to try some. As one master sommelier put it about Pinot, “It’s sex in a glass.” That just about sums it up.

Soquel Vineyards, 8063 Glen Haven Road, Soquel, 462-9045. Soquelvineyards.com. Tasting room open weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Save Our Shores Gala

Save Our Shores is putting on a Toast to the Coast dinner and dance gala at Asilomar in Pacific Grove at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13. There is still time to get tickets, so visit saveourshores.org for info.

Gourmet To Go

One of the best personal chefs in the area is Elizabeth Bourget. Not only can she cook up a storm, but she also just won Best Website of 2014 from the U.S. Personal Chef Association National Conference (USPCA), held in Long Beach. If you love good food and you want to check out her culinary wonders as well as her website, visit gourmetbourget.com.

Seascape Market

I stopped by the Seascape Farmers Market recently—a small, intimate farmers market, complete with music. As well as purchasing organic corn and strawberries, I bought honey from Linda Snawder, who makes raw unfiltered honey with her husband on their property in La Selva Beach. Visit laselvabeachhoney.com or call 768-101. I also had a great cup of coffee at Full of Beans. New owner Russell Sanderson has added an updated coffee counter and now carries local Polar Bear Ice Cream. Visit full-of-beans.com. The market runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays through October.

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